Tag Archives: parenting

Purposeful Pauses


helen keller

As my life transitions into something different I ponder about the power of pausing.  Being mindful about our lives has become a buzz word but really, what is mindfulness?  For me it seems to be purposefully pausing.  For me the word pause is much friendlier then stop…pause means I can continue on with my life …after I take a moment.  Pausing…is helping me get through the heartache and pain but it also is allowing me to find glimpses of joy and hope.  Pausing is allowing me to do what Ryleigh wanted – to explore, live a life of caring and kindheartedness, and follow her dreams and mine.

The challenge to get through each day as being  burdened by the loss of Ryleigh is one that will never go away.  However, there is an ebb and flow of my grief…time is allowing me to build that bridge over the hole that will be forever there.   However, when I do take the time to pause…find ways to slow down and honour my feelings…I can focus on what continues to be important to me.

First and foremost – I am so blessed to have Chloe at home.  Chloe’s youthful joy and zest for life keeps my spirits up. Chloe  has found the way to pause for her own well being.  She definitely knows the way to mindfulness. Chloe has been so generous with her love and understanding.     I absolutely love the fact that she is so attached to all her critters.  She has found a way to help heal her own wounded heart  with caring so lovingly with her critters- dogs, guinea pigs, and her rabbit.  Her excitement and love for these creatures is wonderous.  Chloe demonstrates a power of pausing when she slows down and focuses on her furry friends, takes a nap, plays her computer games, and exploring youtube.  She is an amazing young woman and I learn from her every day.

Pausing for me has not been as easy but I am working on it.  It is slowing down and appreciating one thing at a time.  It is being outside without my phone, music, CBC radio.  It is listening to the sounds of nature as I dig and explore my garden.  It is focusing on the smells of the garden – slowing my mind down to not what I have to do but what I want to do.

Being purposeful about my life realizes that I need to let go of the ties that are anchoring me down in a way that are not allowing me heal and grow.  Yet, holding on to the ones that are holding me together….such as my daughters, my passions for writing, reading, educating, and the hopefulness shared towards  me by my close friends and family.  It is their strength that helps me get through and manage each day.

Pausing is  being quiet and still.  Reflecting in my minds eye and my hopeful heart about the work that I am doing to heal.    Being still has always been a challenge for me as for the last 15 years of being a “hospital” mom has not been a  time to pause and take time.  Focusing on others has been my priority…now it is time to take time for myself. To become healthy inside my heart, my mind, and my body. Being purposeful,  I am finding my way back to being the woman both my daughters admire and love…I want them to be proud of me.

Summer is a time to re-energize, grow, and heal by taking those moments to  pause.



Hallway to…


hallway to heaven

One of my students had is phone run over by a car – he was distraught as his father was out of town working and his phone was his link to his Dad.  I had decided that it was fitting to give him Ryleigh’s phone. I have not accessed Ryleigh’s phone since September.  It was too hard, it was too close to the pain, I just couldn’t.  But now, it seemed to make sense.  This phone was a replacement phone that was generously given to her after her phone was stolen at school.  It made sense to give it to someone else who needed it.

As I looking through Ryleigh’s phone for the last time – reading her last texts to family and friends, looking at the quotes she had left for us, and reminiscing through the pictures, I  found her google docs app.  Not sure why I did not see it before – perhaps I was not ready. The treasury of stories that she had written astounded me.  I knew she was an amazing writer but she had not shared any of her work.  So, I found another phone to give to my student and will keep this phone as it obviously made a difference to Ryleigh.

This particular story has left me feeling hopeful that Ryleigh was at peace with her decisions and actions. It has given me hope and peace as I place Ryleigh in the character Henry’s shoes.

Hallway to…


The lobby was always changing. The walls were currently a pale blue color, the ground

a soft white carpet. Chairs lined the wall, a dozen in total, and several tables had

magazines on them, as well as a television in the corner playing news. The only other

furniture in the room a receptionist desk, where a slender blond woman sat, typing on

the computer in front of her.

The door on the far side of the room slowly creaked open, a man in a business suit

carefully stepping into the room.

The woman smiled, “Hello. My name is Claire.”

“Uh… Hello. I’m Henry.”

“Just take a seat. I’ll call your name when they’re ready for you, then you can step

through this door.” She gestured to the wooden door behind her.

Henry nodded slowly and sat in a nearby chair. He spent several minutes watching the

tv disinterested, then looked up at Claire. “This um… This might be weird question, but

what am I doing here?”

Claire, went back to typing, looked back up and smiled, “Oh, that’s not a

strange question, I get it a lot actually. Just give me a moment and I’ll check.” She rolled

the chair over to the side and bent down and dug around in several drawers, before

sitting back up and setting a bright yellow folder on the desk. She opened it and flipped

through several papers, before speaking,

“Let’s see…” She scowled and looked up at

Henry for a moment, before looking back down at the papers. “It seems like… You have

a heart disease, correct?”

“Um… Yes.”

“Alright, seems like I got the correct papers here. It is so annoying when the papers get

all messed up.” She shakes her head, “I swear, they really need to digitalize all this.”

She glances up, “Oh right. Why you’re here.” She went back to the papers, “Yes… It

seemed your heart just stopped, nothing too dramatic.”

“My… Heart stopped?”

“Seems so.” She smiled gently, “Do you have any other questions?”

“Is this… A hospital or something.”

Claire sighed and brushed some hair out of her face, “No. This isn’t a hospital. Would

you like me to tell you the truth?”

“Uh… Yes.”

“I’d just like to warn you that ignorance is preferable in this situation.”

““I’d like to know.”

She nodded, “Of course.” She paused for a moment, “It seems… Henry, that you have

died. This is the waiting room, and soon you’ll pass through that door,” She pointed

behind her, “And go on to whatever happens after you die.”

Henry was silent for a moment, “You… Don’t know what happens?”

“I’m afraid I do not.” There was a soft beep and Claire looked at the computer.

“Henry.    It’s time for you to go now.”

“But…” He swallowed, “Do I”

“You have to. It’s alright Henry. It’s okay.”

Henry nodded and stood up, slowly striding over to the door and pulling it open. He

glanced through then looked back at Claire. “It’s a hallway.”

“Yep. Go on. Close the door behind you.”

He obeyed, slowly stepping into the hall and closing the door.


 by Ryleigh Johns-Crampain



Forget Me Not

As we move into another season I am surprised by the sea of blue flowers adorning my flower beds and yard.  These were Ryleigh’s favourite flower and every time I go out in my garden it seems like the amount of blossoms have doubled.  Just the other day I saw a beautiful butterfly.  I can feel Ryleigh’s presence and so I am spending many hours outside. As I tend to the garden I reflect on all my precious moments as a mother – with Chloe and Ryleigh.  The last eight months has been very painful for me.  The hurt that comes from your children leaving you in ways that are not expected is unexplainable.  But through unconditional love for my daughters I can overcome the heartache and learn to embrace the calm and serene times. Forget Me Not



I have been told in the past that I have the ability to show lots of patience…however, this time my patience is being tested.  It is an odd experience waiting for your child’s bone marrow to stop producing the cells that sustain their life.  As we are now a week into Ryleigh having her infusion of cyclophosphamide, it is odd for me to think about what is happening inside her body.  She has also had four injection of the  granulocyte colony-stimulating factor or G-CSF.  Hopefully this is stimulating her bone marrow to create lots and lots of stem cells so they can harvest on Monday.  Then we have to wait and see when she can actually begin the steps towards transplant. Ryleigh has been amazing…handling the injections with courage and accepting the changes more calmly.  She seems relieved about the process.  I believe part of it is because there is a protocol and she knows what may come next.  Unlike last year, which was a series of mishaps and complications.  Even now, she knows there will be complications but she is aware of the typical ones and can mentally prepare for it.   We have been waiting so long for Ryleigh to get some relief from her IBD that a few more days/weeks should not seem like an issue.  But, I am a little antsy…

Chloe, Ryleigh, and myself are taking this time to rest and prepare for what is to come…and if you know me, hanging out and resting is not an easy task for me.  Chloe and Ryleigh are good role models for me as they know how to rest and keep whatever energy they have reserved for when they need it.  My experiences over the last few years have resulted in going at a pace that is constant.  Hitting the brakes and resting is a challenge…how weird is that?  That being said, I do admit that resting is hard to do when I have so many worries on my mind.  Being distracted by work, chores, or other tasks helps keep the worry away – worry about the transplant, the emotional well being of my family, finances, my own health, Chloe’s health, etc….I try my best to be mindful and take the worry as it comes but sometimes it is so overwhelming! 

Luckily, I have the strength to deal with these overwhelming moments and persevere…next appointment is 8:30 on Monday morning — if Ryleigh’s counts show lots of stem cells — harvesting is a go!  Fingers are crossed. 

A Journey of Hope

We are settled in a Vancouver hotel the night before my daughter’s second treatment of Remicade to help manage her Crohn’s disease. There is no cure for Chron’s but this may help her feel better. It is a challenging disease because every persons symptoms and treatments are different.
She is nervous about the I V needle. But she is a champion. My eldest daughter says that I may not be a soccer mom but I am definitely a hospital mom. In fact, both my daughters should receive allstar trophies for their courage to deal with both their chronic health conditions. I am a proud but weary mom